Concluding post to the iWander series on solo travelling to Kutch and Velas
almost disbelieving "How many days
of paid leave are you really entitled to in a year?”
to the slightly irritable
“You are always travelling. Are you ever
I’ve heard it all over the past few months. Ever since I
discovered within me the nerve to travel solo.
To be honest
I’m entitled to 29 days of leave INCLUDING all public holidays. And in those 29
days I’ve travelled a little over 7000 kms having been to Wayanad, Ladakh,
Coorg, Goa, Kutch and lastly Velas. And I’ve travelled only for pleasure (not
means that for the remainder of the year, I’m living quite the sedentary
lifestyle and doing things that revolve mostly around the mundane.
always going to be mundane in comparison to the exhilaration of discovering new
places – man made and natural.
I’ve been to
the Lamayuru, Hemis and Thiksey monasteries around Leh, the Eddakal Caves that
date back to the Chalcolithic Age in Wayand, the Indus Valley Civilization site
at Dholavira in Kutch
that dates back to 2500 B.C.
drawn into a reflective silence along the banks of the Tso Moriri in Ladakh and
the White Rann in Kutch. I’ve had the blissful fortune of waking up every
morning right in the middle of a coffee and spice garden plantation in Coorg
and watching turtle hatchlings making a headway for the beach while soaking in the
coastal beach of Velas
I’ve had the
pleasure of watching elephants, sloth bears and deers strolling around wild and
free in Wayanad, the Great Indian Bustard and a whole bunch of peacocks around
And then again,
I haven’t only explored new places but also discovered a whole new me during
experiential sorts of acquiring a taste for locally brewed liquor be it in
Chang in Ladakh or orange wine in Coorg to the introspective kind of realizing
that I don’t get bored in my own company.
I guess this
probably stems from the fact that I take off on my solo travels realizing fully
well that this is meant to qualify as “me time”. In other words it’s time for
me to catch up on some long overdue reading (my backpack will have no less than
3 books) and writing (or what I call ‘distilling thoughts
time to engage with a world that’s different from the one I live in for the 300
odd remainder days of the year. I’ve met a whole bunch of interesting people in
the form of homestay hosts (such as this one to Ladakh
), shopkeepers at the local markets and fellow-travellers
these interactions that I’ve learnt about them (that there are so many people out
there who are doing their bit to make the world around them a better place) and
I’ve even learnt much more about my own self too
(that it inspires many others
to actually travel solo, even if it means just once).
that I’ve only met people along my journeys but off late I’ve realized that, in
what may seem strange but nevertheless holds true, I’ve also encountered books
So on a
recent trip to Kutch I was thrilled to bits when I saw a modest bookshelf in my
room at the homestay. Temptation had already gotten the better of me when in spite
of the four books in my bag, I’d purchased a fifth at the railway station on my
way to Bhuj. And now this! Needless to say, I not only completed reading two of
the now five books but also exchanged one of them in lieu of another from the
bookshelf. I now also concur that no matter how abnormal it may seem, books
make for cool friends too!
solo travel really does for me is that it lets me disconnect from everything
around me mostly by default (read: no access to data on the phone hence no
emails work or otherwise; nor social media updates to give or receive).
this solo female traveller has taught me how to be adept and think on my feet. I’ve
learnt what it means to deal with delays.
contingencies have to be figured out.
AND that calling
your folks back home at that very second isn’t the wisest call you’d be making.
past year I’ve only gotten better at planning my travel budgets. I’m quite
comfortable without necessarily being either too stingy or too liberal with my
spending. And I love the independence that comes because of travelling.
It’s put my
faith one-little-bit-at-a-time back into humanity because of what I’ve observed
or have had the opportunity to experience through the
genuine-acts-of-seemingly-random-and-hence-not-perceived-to-be-important-acts-of-kindness (New Year's in Goa shall never be forgotten
So everything seems to be going great for this girl who’s found her love for
travelling -- except that her sunblock's contents always remain
I can almost hear Baz Luhrman ;)